Volunteers build playground for neighborhood in need

Volunteers constructing playground via Rosalie Weisfeld

McAllen volunteers woke up early Saturday morning, put on their working gloves and headed out to build a playground for children.

The Los Encinos subdivision in McAllen will be having their ribbon cutting ceremony today as they unveil the community playground.

The playground was made possible by KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization which is committed to building playgrounds in walking distances for children across the U.S.

Nearly 200 volunteers from around the McAllen area gathered to put pieces together to form a vision created by children in the Los Encinos neighborhood.

Two months ago the project manager, Laurel Laidlaw, met with parents and children in the community to ask them about their vision.

Children in the neighborhood then drew pictures of what they envisioned.

Now, volunteers are constructing the childrens TM exact vision piece by piece.

KaBOOM! partners with Blue Cross, Blue Shield and their community partner, Affordable Homes of South Texas.

Our vision is that every kid in America would be able to play actively every day, Laidlaw said.

Playgrounds are not constructed solely for physical benefit.

Laidlaw said playgrounds are created to grow childrens TM cognitive development as well as create an environment where children can be social with one another.

It is a venue for the community where children can be social and benefit not only physically but emotionally.

According to their website, KaBOOM!, decline in children playing has led to childhood obesity, attention deficit/hyperactivity, anxiety, as well as stunted social, cognative and creative development.

It TMs a wholesome way to focus on health and building healthy community, Laidlaw said.

Food and tools were also donated by McAllen community businesses to assist with the playground production.

Today TMs construction is taking about six hours.

Out of different communities that applied for the grant, Blue Cross, Blue Shield chose the McAllen subdivision.

The project manager said the children are already excited to play.